London Baby Part 2

13 Nov

Fiona spotted her at the breakfast buffett, she was too cool for school and perfect, dressed so immacuatley in the clothing that had made her such a success, in that moment Fiona knew what she had to do, with the courage of David, a heart full of thanks and a pinch of encouragement from her friend Michelle she stood up from her french toast and walked towards her……

I really had no idea what I would say when I reached  her…”Goonie GooGoo” was all that was going through my head during the 20 seconds it took to walk over but somehow I managed to open my mouth and have words come out that didn’t sound like I was from a long lost Star Trek planet! It went something like…”Hello Heidi, I’m Fiona….the winner of your competition” with of course the goofiest smile ever and beetroot cheeks to match. Within seconds she was hugging me and we were chatting about our children, my blog and the fashion show. She said how much she had enjoyed my letters and my blog and I felt my cheeks burning with embarrassment and yet delight at the thought of someone so important, so famous reading MY blog!!!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!!  She was so gorgeous with a beautiful and genuine personality to match. I took her over to our table  and introduced her to Michelle.  We chatted for a while then she hugged us and said we would catch up after the show and introduce us to Sarah Jane.  Michelle and I giggled our way througth the rest of our breakfast not quite believing what had just happened or more to the point that I actually had the balls to walk up to her while she was digging into the muesli!!

Friday morning saw us hitting the shops looking for an outfit for Michelle and her rapidly growing gorgeous bump!! Then the long awaited reunion with her mum at lunchtime. I can’t tell you how happy seeing them together made me feel, I know that there was more than luck involved with winning this trip, in my heart I wanted it so bad to take her to the family she missed so desperately and all the other amazing stuff was the icing on the cake!! The fact that I love Sass and Bide so much and had never been to the UK saw us both living out our dreams together. Next through the door was her Dad and his wife so yet another tearful reunion, (yep a swimming pool was filled with our tears during this weekend). I already felt that I knew these people and they embraced me and thanked me over and over for bringing their girl home to them.  A pretty good feeling, NO, an AMAZING feeling that warmed the cockels, (I have those don’t I?), of my heart.

Our afternoon was cut short however as we had to get back to our hotel to get ready for the show. A slight costume change at the last minute saw me wear a Zara top under my fluoro orange jacket and my shiny high waisted black jeans, I felt slightly matchy matchy with my handbag lined in fluoro as well but I still felt amazing and frankly too bloody excited and nervous to care! Being the stress head that I am (my pet hate and peeve is being late, I am always early and if I am late I’ve got bloody good reason to be) and having a travel companion (yes you Michelle….but you know I love you xx) who is notorius for being late… always….I was starting to have a panic attack!! In my frenzy to get out the door on time I over GHD’d my bloody hair and was left looking more frizz than fabulous and almost, (praise little baby Jesus I didn’t), burnt a hole in my $450 S&B jacket that I was weraing that night with a last minute de-creasing with the worlds worst iron in the world most fanciest hotel ARGHHHHH!!!! ( I’m guessing the people who can actually afford to stay in this luxe hotel can also afford to have housekeeping do their laundry, at 5 pound for a pair of undies to be washed and pressed I chose to do my own, thankyou very much..love Mrs Tightarse).  Let it be known just as she promised she would be, (bless her cotton socks), Michelle was ready at 5 o’clock on the dot and so into a cab we jumped in which I spent the next 20 minutes thinking he was going the wrong way, (’cause I knew exactly where I was …NOT!), and that we would miss the whole flaming show and life as I knew it would never be the same, dramatic much?! Well yes my darling friend may indeed be known for her tardiness but I am known for being a drama queen and I lived up to it big time! Yet again we made it to the venue and I tipped the taxi driver out of relief and gratitude which thankfully paid off big time as we were at the wrong door and he pulled up down the road and ran back up to us to tell us to walk around the corner..PHEW!!

Waiting in line with other fashionistas I felt so out of place and yet confident that I deserved to be there, I soaked it up, each and every minute, so aware that THIS was never to be again, that THIS was a once in a lifetime experience. In my 40 years  there’s one thing I’ve learnt and that’s to not take anything and no-one for granted, so with that I was determined to make it a night of no regrets for what I “coulda, shoulda woulda” done and just “do it” all. So with our front row tickets in hand we walked into the show only to be greeted by who I think was the managing director of S&B who recognised me from my blog, we chatted and she was lovely and took me over to the CEO of the company who also recognised me from my blog, (so if they’re by any chance reading this right now I do apologise I was very nervous and don’t normally smile so much that I look like a maniac but I do normally talk that fast and make not much sense as you can probably tell from all of this jibba jabba …and sorry I’ve forgotten your names and official job titles, ok I’m going to stop now). We took our seats in the front row right next to the paparazzi who incidentally regardless of our front row status could tell I was just an okie from muskogee and didn’t scramble to take my photograph unlike other supposedly famous people in the front row including Poppy and Cora Delevingne (who dat?…not sure but they’re somebody to someone) and Twiggy with her daughter. The show itself was over so fast! It was sparkly (very technical term that) with, camelias and oragami inspired bows, wide legged sequin pants matched with tuxedo look capes and vests, floaty feathered dresses and plenty of glamour. It was fun with a balanced mix of masculine and feminine styles with also a little beading and orange neon thrown in which had me feeling very on trend. The gold cuffs, belts and harness necklaces that would make any plain black top sing were all added to my already  long list of lustworthy S&B creations. It was magical and uplifting but like I said over too darn quick!!  With the applause for Sarah Jane and Heidi from their brief appearance on the catwalk still echoing off the walls of the Royal Horticultural Hall everyone got up and left!!, most likely off to attend some other fabulous fashion show elsewhere but I just couldn’t wait to get backstage. A lovely lady and her mum befriended us and took us through backstage, I’m pretty sure she must of recognised me from my blog as well and I’m not sure who she was in relation to Sass and Bide but Whitney you and your mum were gorgeous and made us feel welcomed and comfortable when I was secretely pooping my pants!! Backstage we waited happily sipping champers while chatting to various members of the S&B “family” until Sarah Jane and Heidi were done with the press. We met Sarah Jane and Heidi, chatted about how we loved the show and I said “thank you” about a million times and gushed about how it was the best thing that ever happened to me…they were feeling the love hahaha!! We had some photos and some more hugs and talked about catching up for a cuppa which didn’t eventuate but at least for a moment I thought it would and even that was pretty cool!! With that we skipped down the stairs into the cool night air, with a huge sigh of relief and contentment as this night had been played out in my head for the past 2 months and it went far beyond any expectation I may of had or dreamed up, a night I will never forget.

Advertisements

“London Baby” Part 1

26 Sep

 As she stood on the crowded bridge looking down the River Thames  Big Bens chime echoed loudly behind her.  Fiona finally realised this wasn’t all a dream, seeing her friend reunited with her family added to the warmth she already felt from this unusually sunny day in London. She felt so alive, so blessed and yet so far away from the ones she loved most, it was there and then that she vowed to return someday with her husband and daughters,  it wasn’t just wishful thinking, Fiona knew dreams came true, she now had proof of it.

 

Saying goodbye to my girls was much harder than I anticipated. Clinging to my youngest at the door of departures I sobbed as I handed her over to the more than capable arms of my husband. She had been running a temperature that morning and developed a nasty cough overnight, to say I was anxious about leaving her would be an understatement, yet I was conflicted with my eagerness for the adventure to begin. So with reassurance from my husband , a last kiss from my baby girl and a hug from Michelle I worked up the courage to walk through those doors, but try as I might to not look back I couldn’t resist one more glance over my shoulder and through my tears I saw my daughter blow me a kiss, in that moment I knew everything was going to be alright. I knew this would all be over in the blink of an eye and vowed to make the most of every moment and every opportunity.

 

Flying has never been a pleasurable thing for me, until now! Little did I know that a world of free food and beverage and not to mention comfy couches galore awaited us and other privileged well travelled guests in the Qantas Lounge. Michelle and I stocked up on canapés and cupcakes not realising a three course gourmet meal awaited us on our business flight leg to Singapore. Needless to say we were well and truly stuffed an hour into our flight and the next four hours passed in a blur of champagne bubbles for me (orange juice for Michelle as she has a bubba on the way….YAY!) and fits of laughter at trying to get our fancy seats to work, only truly mastering it in the last minutes before landing. The wait at Singapore was quick despite the hour delay of our flight and we were looking forward to some shut eye on our next long flight. Alas business class ruined us for premium economy, the seats and food far better than economy but how we longed for those horizontal chairs in business! Regardless of this we were feeling pretty fresh and excited when 14 hours later we touched down in London. Customs was a breeze and so was organising transport although we must of looked a treat rocking up to our fancy 5 star hotel in our mini bus!!

 

The Sanderson was everything I expected it to be. Weird and wonderful, strangely enough I felt quite at home there. Upgraded to a king room which meant sharing a bed but getting complimentary breakfast (the breakfast was AMAZING! Dear Elizabeth, our waitress,  memorised our preferred morning beverages including my 2 sugars…bless her) each morning seemed a fair trade although it did label us as the resident “lesbian couple” which I had a bit of fun with much to Michelle’s embarrassment. Our room was beautiful and feminine with privacy (if you can call it that) created with flowing sheer curtains as the internal walls were made from glass, if we weren’t close before the trip we certainly were by the end of it. Our room looked down over a courtyard where very fashionable, rich models sipped their iced water ( ok I made that bit up but there were a lot of glamorous people floating around this hotel) and the muffled thump of the bar DJ became our lullaby after long days exploring the city.

Thursday morning saw us arriving at our hotel at 7.30am our room wasn’t ready so we were recommended a place called “ The breakfast club” 7.55am we arrived there, we were told they didn’t open til 8am. When we returned 15 minutes later the place was packed solid but a little table barely big enough for midgets was available down the back. Hungry and eager to experience  anything at this time of the morning in London we held our breath and squeezed ourselves into our chairs and procrastinated over our delicious looking menu. Taking photos of the array of sauces available on our tiny table 2 business men looked at me as though I was mental to which Michelle chirped “she’s from Australia” and with that they shrugged and laughed as if that explained everything. Our breakfast was scrumptious and kept us going all day as we explored Oxford st which was less than a few minute’s walk from our hotel. Returning to the Sanderson we found our invites to the sass and bide fashion show under our door, excited yet exhausted we fell asleep easily on our comfy big bed only to wake at 4am to me sitting upright in bed screaming “where am I, I don’t know where I am” scaring the crappers out of Michelle, she reassured me I was ok and that I was in London…oh shit that’s right……LONDON BABY!!!! With that I lay back down but was suddenly so aware of just how far away from home and my girls I truly was.

 

“Well I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again”………..well I do actually, next Thursday at 12.05am but that doesn’t sound anywhere near as exciting does it?!

11 Sep

Fiona couldn’t believe that her big day was a mere 24 hours away, although none of it seemed real yet. She still had dinner to cook, washing to peg out and babies to bath. Although she was a million miles away yet from shopping on Oxford st she couldn’t help but smile as she stirred her meatballs.

I’ve never been a fan of flying nor a regular church goer but for some reason once I’m in the air I turn into a babbling wreck repeating the Lord’s prayer over and over in my head, ( occasionally out loud if I feel imminent doom is approaching). So I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise in advance to my friend Michelle who is joining me on this adventure for the white knuckle hand squeezes the gasps of terror and the burying of my head between my knees whenever we hit any turbulence. I know I’ve always had an active imagination, and the words “drama queen” will be placed on my headstone but people do die while flying even if they are in business class!!! All that said I’m going to “try” and enjoy my flights to the UK and have my dusty copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey” that I’ve tried reading a hundred times over the last month to keep me occupied.

To say I’m excited would be playing down how I’m feeling right now but I’m also feeling anxious at the thought of leaving my girls for a whole week. Rest assured I haven’t just left them at home with 10 litres of milk and the Pizza Hut phone number next to 000. Their Daddy has come home from the mines to be with them while I’m away, he even told me he was looking forward to spending so much time with them to which I locked myself in the bathroom and proceeded to laugh hysterically for five minutes. Much to my disgust they will probably both be absolute angels (which they are really) for him while I’m away and he will wonder what the hell I go on about every night when he calls home. In all seriousness I’m going to miss my naughty little munchkins and a part of me hopes they miss me a little bit as well. I know my wonderful hubby is going to do a great job while I’m away and even remember to mop and vacuum while I’m away (yes I hope he’s reading this).

All my precious sass and bide clothing has been carefully folded and lovingly placed into my suitcase all ready for tomorrow. I really don’t hold any expectations for the week ahead I’m just so ready and open for whatever life has to throw at me. I just know that I want to make the most of every moment and opportunity not just while I’m in London but when I come home as well, I truly believe that winning this trip was a big part of my destiny and that the chain of events that have started as a result of receiving such an amazing prize will lead me on to even more amazing life adventures. So “ta ta” everyone and thank you for your well wishes, I can’t wait to share it all with you xxx

“Big mistake….BIG…..HUGE!!!……I have to go shopping now.”

2 Sep

Fiona tugged at her Target top as she hovered outside the front of the store, she was excited yet anxious. What if the clothes didn’t fit her, what if the sales girl looked down at her, what if the last three weeks spent dreaming while running on the treadmill was a complete waste of time??? Full of anticipation she mustered up the courage to walk in “how can I help you today?” asked the tall pretty girl “I’m the winner of the trip to London” I replied shyly, “yes we’ve been expecting you Fiona” she said with a big smile.

 

Just a mere week before winning this prize my husband and I were in the city where I did my mandatory stroll along King street a street reserved for the crème de la crème of the fashion world. It’s a quick walk, I never stop I only dare to gaze into the windows of the unknown world of designer wares and clothing. I know them all, they are not foreign to me, with hours spent researching (ok reading Marie Claire and Madison counts as “research” surely?!!) these high end brands I can’t not know them. I feel out of place and yet long to belong here although the idea of shelling out a couple of thousand on a hand bag is crazy to me this doesn’t stop me wishing one would just drop out of the sky and find itself hanging off my shoulder. This particular day I allowed myself to stop briefly and admire a necklace displayed in the window of sass and bide and little did I know four weeks later I would be trying that baby on with a glass of champagne in my hand and a grin permanently fixed to my face. What I want to know is why it took winning this competition to make me walk through the front doors of sass and bide to try it on? Although cost is a huge factor due to our one wage household I think the real reason was a lack of confidence on my part a feeling of not deserving or not having the right to walk into such a store, I felt intimidated by the beautiful things and the beautiful people that usually come along with them. I hate to be judged and yet here I was judging and assuming about what my experience would be once I stepped through those doors.

Friday is my day, the only day of the week my girls go to daycare and with having a husband who works away two weeks at a time this day is my sahara in the dessert and the light at the end of my very long tunnel , the day I get to recharge take charge and generally get my shit together before I lose my shit literally!! I love my girls but Lordy since starting this FIFO lifestyle my appreciation and respect for single parents has sky rocketed! So this was the day that I would go to the city for my sass and bide shop up. My hubby was home and although he knew what he was in for volunteered ( actually I don’t think he volunteered as such but I like to make it sound as though he had a choice although we all know he didn’t) to come along for “moral support” in case a) nothing fit me b) nothing looked nice on me c) the sales assistant wasn’t very nice or helpful  or d) all of the above. Everything went to plan, girls went to daycare without any tears, the traffic was good and we found a parking spot easily. We were early, too early, I forgot they didn’t open til 10am so immediately I felt even more out of place as any true fashionista would surely know this. So off we trotted for a coffee and a muffin just up the road as I didn’t want to be hovering outside the shop while they opened up. Twenty minutes later at an acceptable time of 10.35am we walked back to find the store opened and ready for me. I walked in and was greeted within a minute by a tall lovely looking English lass, I introduced myself and was thrilled to hear she had been expecting me. She took charge listening to what my wants and needs were setting me up with a change room and a rack full of beautiful clothes that she had picked out for me.  Feeling like a kid in a candy store I proceeded to spend the next three hours being dressed and styled from head to toe, the champagne she cracked opened  was a nice touch and just what I needed to let my hair down and really enjoy the whole experience. Hubby was taking pictures and posting them on Face book and even had a poll for what outfit to wear to the sass and bide fashion show which was a lot of fun. I felt amazing in their clothing and I liked what I saw in the mirror, I never realised what a difference beautiful fabric and well designed clothing could make even my husband was impressed at how well it fit and flattered my figure. I had a great time and was so happy with everything  I picked out leaving only a $150 balance on my gift voucher, and to think I was only going to spend half of it but I just found so many things that I loved, and alas some of those precious things including the necklace I had eyed off many weeks beforehand, had to be left behind. I had such an amazing experience that I almost forgot (ok not really) that I still had my trip to London and fashion show to look forward to yet, I felt like such a winner with just this part of the prize.I came away from those few hours at sass & bide with a newfound confidence, I felt young (ish) and stylish, it had been a long time since I looked into a fitting room mirror and smiled.

Back home my new prized possessions have their own designated section in my wardrobe, somewhere that can’t be reached by grubby curious fingers. For now they hang there like a little shrine to sass & bide with their tags still attached looking so new and creaseless, but not for long! Ten more days and they will be carefully placed into my suitcase ready to be flown to the otherside of the world. Ready to star in hundreds of touristy photos. Ready to play a part in the making of some wonderful memories.

Its my party and I’ll cry if I want to…….

5 Aug

Fiona hovered above the naked flame, she didnt want to waste this one like so many others before.  As she looked around the smiling faces of the ones she loved, all she could think about was how perfect  her life really was, she realised that no wish was actually needed this year, so she blew out her candle with no expectation, no regret or greed but with a heart full of real happiness. 

                            

If you had of asked me at 35  how I felt about turning 40 the response would of been me babbling about botox with my fingers in my ears,  I was dreading it , feared it, loathed it and refused to accept IT!!! Fast forward five years living on the other side of the country married with two toddlers the dreaded 40 has somehow got hold of my forwarding address and has come a knocking on this wrinkle cream junkies door. Having my birthday in the middle of the year means I’m not the first of my friends to hitch a ride upon the mid life train and have been amazed by everyone else’s gracious entry into the “naughty forties”. They didn’t self combust or suddenly start wearing elastic waisted pants with homy ped shoes and so this helped to ease my mind about what would happen to me when the clock struck 12 on my birthday.

I thought Botox would well and truly be a part of my life by now but my mummy scowl wouldn’t be half as impressive without being able to move my eyebrows and so I’m learning to embrace my creases and sagginess. I’ve spent hours stalking my school friends on Facebook comparing their wrinkles, their mummy tummies and general all round “youthfulness” or lack thereof  and am quietly delighted when I find a less than complimentary photo of someone , there is no avoiding father time not even for “miss blonde haired, long legged big tits” in the year above me. Yes I’m vain!!! I’m the first to admit it, I take pride in how I look and yet feel let down each day by my reflection in the mirror. I’m working on this though I’ve joined a gym and I’m eating healthier in preparation for my trip to London and after only a week I’m feeling great!! My greatness isn’t being reflected on my scales yet but surely cutting out half a packet of Tim Tams a day has got to make a difference sometime soon!

Part of my fear of turning forty had stemmed from the fact my beloved mum died in her forties. That bloody awful thing called cancer went and done a real number on her stripping her of her womanhood and her right to grow old. I’ts hard to get my head around the fact that in four years time I will be older than my mum was when she died, to me she’ll always be forever young.  I feel so incredibly ripped off, pissed off and cheated seeing as I still have so much living to do at forty, its only now that I understand just how too soon she was taken.  So with turning forty I now qualify to be able to get a mammogram…HURRAH!!! I asked Breastscreen Tasmania if I could have one a couple of years ago due to the fact my mum was so young when she got it but apparently regardless of this I still have to be forty to get one for free,  Umm newsflash,  people under forty have been known to get breast cancer you know?! So off I will trot to get this done because I’m determined to see my girls become mothers themselves, and unlike my mum I WILL get to hold my grandbabies.

So turning forty hasn’t been so bad (so far) and I’m quite proud  of my gracious non self combusting entry into it. “I’m forty” (yes I can say it out loud) and pretty much the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I love looking back and remembering who I was and where I came from I’m far more comfortable in my own skin, as wrinkly and saggy as it may be, i’ts mine and it bears the scars of an ordinary but memorable life thus far and looking on the bright side I’ve got at least another  five years without anyone mentioning the word fi…fif….fifty .

For the very first time…….

1 Aug

As she pulled across the curtains and slipped out of her skirt Fiona could hardly contain her excitement.  She had waited for this moment a very long time. She held her breath, wriggled her hips and slowly lifted her head to face the demon better known as the fitting room mirror……..

I’ve always had such a love hate relationship with my body, very rarely love, mostly hate. I remember being one of the taller girls in grade 6 then going to high school and everyone kept growing except me. Through high school I still held out hope that I would one day wake up tall but alas it wasnt to be. My father tried to reassure me that boys loved short girls but I wasn’t convinced and blamed my being vertically challenged for being ignored by the opposite sex. Every girl at school was prettier than me, had nicer hair/clothes/homes/ than me and I was forever comparing myself to others, the only thing that I did and did better than anyone else was playing the class idiot!! If I was being laughed at for something I did on purpose than at least I was controlling the situation and, better still, getting noticed.  I was the “go to girl” for laughs and lunchtime entertainment and I loved every minute of it.

As a 17 yo this manifested into me performing as a lead singer in a couple of cover bands which I look back on with great fondness.  I was wild and brave while on stage, off stage I was self doubting thinking surely any minute now someone will say out loud “Um, you’re not really a very good singer”.  I loved every minute while performing but felt like such a phoney even though people told me they had a great time listening to me and we continued to get paid gigs week in week out. Then as we grew more popular we took on a manager and me being 19 and impressionable thought that everything she said was gospel!!! She told me I could be a star if I wore these clothes/shoes/makeup if I changed my hair and lost some weight, I laughed with the other band members that she was a nutjob, but inside I was thinking I would never amount to anything by just being ME!! So for many years I thought that the reason I never made it as a performer was due to being short, overweight and bearing a striking resemblence to Bobby Fisher off Home and Away, (thats a story for another day). Once again it all came back to “if I cant be the best at something why bother?”

Over the years my weight has gone up and down, (mainly up), but I remember fondly the first day of our honeymoon, I had lost a bit of weight for the wedding and was very excited about shopping in Melbourne for my first pair of sass & bide jeans, I had never spent more than $50 on a pair of jeans before and had lusted after these designer threads since my friend had bought a pair 6 months earlier. Slipping those jeans on in the changeroom and turning to look at my bum in the mirror I felt amazing!! I strutted out to show my husband his wife looking fab in her new jeans.  I couldn’t stop grinning as I posed outside David Jones for a photo of me hugging my new purchase. I wore those jeans the next night to see Pearl Jam in concert and pretty much lived in them for the rest of our honeymoon, to say I had a special attachment to those jeans would be an understatement.  I remember how good it felt to be proud of the way I looked.  It’s been such a long time since I’ve had that feeling, (and a long time since I fitted into those jeans).  With two babies in two years my body has changed quite a bit but funnily enough nowdays I look  in the mirror with a less critical eye as I know the old body is looking a bit ‘rough’ but my lumps and bumps are the result of bringing my beautiful girls into the world.   (Ok maybe I could have done it without 100 packets of peanut m&m’s and violet crumble bars).

I’ve been hitting the gym this last week in preperation for my trip to London and my new wardrobe that I’ve won.  I’ve got a long way to go in the next 6 weeks, I’m not expecting miracles but I’m hoping to have that same feeling as the day I tried on those s&b jeans….who knows, I might even get into my old pair!!!

Have you got a favourite clothing item you’ve held onto for years just because of the way it made you feel when you wore it?  Maybe pull it out from storage, slip it on and enjoy a few minutes reminiscing about that special day when you bought or wore it. It may even re light the fire of a bygone passion or dream.  As I’m finding out it’s never too late to pick up where you left off.

Image

In the beginning…

26 Jul

Continue reading